Monday, May 11, 2015

Aislinn Spain's 5th Anniversary

High 5 on the 4th in 2012.
I'm feeling a little nostalgic today.  Is #MemoryMonday a thing yet?  If it isn't, I'm making it a thing now.  Every year when we start a new summer season at Grassroots, it's like a fresh slate.  A new year with new classes, new music, new movies, new fun.  But it also brings up a lot of memories.  "Remember last year when..." is a pretty common phrase this time of year as we all look back and think about what we've done before and how we can do things bigger and better this time around.

Cheering on runners at the Freedom Run in 2014.
I realized today that this Fun 4th is going to be my 5th one.  I know this is a small number to many of the awesome people who make Fun 4th possible, some of whom are headed toward their 50th Fun 4th anniversary.  But to me 5 years is a big one.  This started as a simple summer job that was only supposed to last 4 months.  It has turned into over 4 years.  Fun 4th has become as much a part of my life as high school or college were.  It has become it's own era.  It's own chapter in the tell-all I will write when I become a celebrity.

Bring Your Friends and Get in the Picture in 2011.
It hasn't been without challenges.  Most of the best things are that way.  For many years, Fun 4th and I had a love/hate relationship that was more hate than love.  The long hours, the heat, the never having July 4th free to go to the beach, can be brutal.  But as time goes on the stories are told with less resentment and more pride.  The long days become less exhausting and more thrilling.  And over time, this festival has become something that I can't imagine my life without.

I get asked a lot, "How has Fun 4th been going on for so long?" or "Why are all these people still doing this?"  Honestly, I don't really know.  I haven't been around long enough to know and I can't speak for the majority of the people that have kept this thing going.  But, I can speculate that what
Eating all of these donuts in 2013.
keeps everyone coming back is some version of what has kept me going all of these years.  I will never forget my first Fun 4th, looking out into a crowd of hundreds of snare drummers, vibrating with anticipation, ready to attempt breaking a world record.  I know it was hot and loud and I hadn't slept in what felt like days.  I don't remember any of that though.  I remember being happy and excited and alive.  And once you feel that it's a hard thing to let go of.

Of course, all of this applies to you too!  I'm sure all of you can remember your 1st, or 5th, or 20th Fun 4th.  Maybe it was the year your first child was born.  Maybe it was the first year you lived in Greensboro.  Maybe it was the first time your family had ever seen fireworks.  I bet if you think about it hard enough, you can get pulled right back to that time and you will have a happy heart thinking about who you were then and what your life was like and what Fun 4th has meant to you all these years.

For me, my 1st Fun 4th was a time when everything was different.  I had a new husband, was living in a new town, was starting my first real job.  I was both excited and scared.  Everything was decided and everything was unsure all at once.  And I was standing on a stage, hoping not to get stampeded
Dancing at the Block Party in 2014.
by 800 anxious drummers, wondering if there was anything better than this.

Last year I asked you guys to come out and celebrate Fun 4th's 40th anniversary.  I honestly feel like it was one of the best years yet and it wouldn't have happened at all if we hadn't been able to share it with all of you.  This year, I would love if every single one of you came to Fun 4th and shared my 5th anniversary with me.  It's no 40, that's for sure, but I will be celebrating none the less.  If you've never been to Fun 4th, even better.  Come make your first Fun 4th memory this year.  I promise it will be something you'll never forget!